Writing a historical book, either fiction or nonfiction, is not an easy task. The author has to maintain harmony between facts and personal opinion. Neither can you manipulate the facts nor present a completely different narrative. It tests the skills of the writer to come out with her or his best. Moreover, as a reader, we want to read those historical writings which share shreds of evidence and a few personal opinions or biases, maybe. So, today we will talk about the top five historical works everyone should read.
1. India Wins Freedom: This book is based on the Indian independence war. The novel is written by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was a great freedom fighter and later became the first education minister in Independent India. Does it talk about how partition happened? It exposes the dual stand of Nehru and Gandhi on the partition of India. He openly talks in his book that partition had nothing to do with religion it happened due to a political conspiracy. However, there are facts in public domain that the sole reason for the partition of India was Muslim-Hindu divide created by Congress and Jinnah. Some of the leaders were over-ambitious and never took any step back from their goal – to get the crown whether of a divided or united India, doesn’t matter. When it happened he has written in his book ”The End of A Dream.” It touches the lives of contemporary figures of his time Nehru, Gandhi, Bose and Patel. It is a pretty well-written book to understand the hypocrisy of some of the leaders and the struggle of the Indian freedom movement.
2. The Far Pavilions: It is a quite interesting book written by M.M. Kaye. The novel sets around the nineteenth century and explores the mutiny started against the British empire in India. This is the story of a boy Ashton Pelham, who is British born but brought up in India by a widow. When she was dying she told him that you are a Britsh, not an Indian. He returned to England but he was already fallen in the love with an Indian princess that can never settle. With so much twist and turn story goes on and love story part is more thrilling than a roller coaster. The readers can understand the condition of India at that time by reading this novel.
3. Mumtaz and Taj Mahal: It is a historical fiction written by a new author Pravin Anand. It develops on the backdrop of the story of emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. The story revolves around their lives and struggles they had to face to become the immortal figure of love. It explores the political settings of that time. More or less the novel deals with the life of emperor and Mumtaz when they were youths, young and grew old together. If you want to understand how Khurram and Arjumand became the power couple, this is the story of their love that you need to read. Moreover, there are also the creativities of the author that adds further colour to this historical fiction.
4. Janardhan Talbot: It is historical fiction that sets on the first independence war of India started in 1857. The novel is written by Mohan Timmaraju. It is the story of Janardhan Rao who was born and bought up in south India and later went to Britain to look for a luxurious life that he could never find. The author has taken up the historical, sociological and political conditions of India of that time very maturely. It also explores the inner self of Janardhan. Moreover, the novel is also a thriller piece with major twists in the plot – assumed and mistaken identity play important parts. The author has done a fabulous job here!
5. India Divided: One of the best works on the issue of India’s partition that takes into account the consequences both countries had to face after partition. The author of this book is Dr Rajendra Prasad who was the first president of Independent India. He explores the conditions that India has faced due to partition. The mass murders in riots and the untold story of hypocritic politics – everything is written in detail. You can enjoy reading this work or in fact, get shocked rather than enjoy!
a list for Active Readers by Amit Mishra